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For Women Business Owners, Persistence Pays Off
Almost Home Boarding and Training, LLC and All Pets Veterinary Center, LLC are co-located in a new facility dedicated solely for pet care services. Almost Home offers pet boarding for dogs, cats, and exotic pets, Dog Day Out, Daycare, Dog Training classes and Grooming in a 10,000 square foot indoor facility. All Pets Veterinary Center offers a wide array of veterinary services, using the latest diagnostics and procedures, including Surgical, Therapeutic and Preventative services for pets in a 5,000 square foot facility.
On October 13, 2003, Katie Carman (now Katie Peckenpaugh) and Kathy Schultz talked to the Louisville SBDC about business plan coaching and financial projection assistance for a $1 million project. The loan was for land acquisition and construction costs to build a training and boarding kennel facility in Louisville. An SBDC consultant had worked with the clients to develop a solid business plan and sound financial projections. The clients submitted a business plan and loan package to several banks in 2004. Not understanding the concept or the pet care industry, the commercial banks that were approached declined financing. A specialty lending bank did approve the project later, but the land contract expired. The owners were not offered an extension and therefore lost the financing arrangement.
Armed with a new location, an additional business partner, Dr. Melissa Jewell, a veterinarian, and a desire to see their dream fulfilled, the clients reconnected with the SBDC in January 2007. The clients revised their business plan and developed new financial projections for a $2.4 million project with SBDC assistance. At this time, KKM, LLC was formed (Katie, Kathy and Missy) for the purchase of the land and building. This LLC owns both the land and the building. Using a new business model, the project encompassed a veterinary center and boarding/kennel facility. Kathy Schultz and Katie Peckenpaugh operate and own the boarding/kennel facility, Almost Home Boarding and Training, LLC and Dr. Jewell owns the veterinary business, All Pets Veterinary Center, LLC. The clients submitted their loan package to a bank in October 2007 and received approval for a 504 loan package through the local SBA CDC, Capital Access Corporation, contingent upon zoning approval for the new location. The CDC “was behind us from the very beginning. They were a tremendous help and believed in this project,” said the owners. In March 2008, the clients were featured in a Louisville Courier-Journal newspaper article discussing the zoning approval and the project. Excited about the approval, the clients expected to close on the business loan in May 2008.
An unexpected obstacle prevented the closing of the loan in June 2008. In August 2009, the clients resolved the issues and needed the financial projections revised. They worked with BB&T, an SBA Preferred Lender, to secure financing for their venture. After revising financials for the project with assistance from the SBDC, the clients submitted the loan packages and received in-house approval. Although internally approved, the clients endured even more delays. Overcoming numerous setbacks, they officially closed their loan in February 2010. The business opened at the new location in October 2010.
The owners are active members in various area business associations. They also work with the local animal rescue groups, offering training room for meetings, functions and fundraisers for animals and have helped many animal rescue associations. Because of their commitment to animals and their community, they already have won recognition for Boarding, Training and Grooming categories in the “Best of Kentuckiana” regional contest, participate in the local animal events and donate gift certificates to support animals.
Katie Peckenpaugh has an extensive background in veterinary services, was on the board of the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Club of America and volunteers for various committees of that club. Kathy Schultz has worked at several Louisville veterinary businesses and has crucial back-office skills that she performs for the company, including social media marketing. Kathy said, “Word of mouth has been the highest source of referrals for us! We think that says a lot.”